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IBM's RFID man in Europe

Thierry Mottaz, IBM’s Integrated Supply Chain quality and customer support manager, server engineering, is leading a team developing an in-house RFID track-and-trace solution in Europe.

Pw 11430 Mottaz

PW: What does this application involve?

Mottaz: It involves returnable plastic containers in a closed-loop, controlled supply chain for server components and miscellaneous materials transported from our distribution center in Montpellier, France, to our DC in Dublin, Ireland.

PW: When did this project start and what’s its status?

Mottaz: This project itself came from an internal request in early 2004 to look for innovation in our processes, and to give our customers the best products possible. We are currently conducting laboratory testing with hardware and plan to move that into our Montpellier facility by June.

PW: How has this experience been a positive one for you?

Mottaz: I became interested in RFID 18 months ago as I educated myself on this emerging technology. I enjoyed the challenge to get “out of my comfort zone.” I personally believe that a hands-on approach is the best way to learn new innovative technologies such as RFID. I view this project as a matter of personal leadership and professional development.

PW: How has the response been?

Mottaz: Even with my 20 years with IBM, this project represents the first time I have received e-mails, phone calls, and inquiries from people interested in one of my projects. There is huge enthusiasm with RFID. With this project, we are pioneering something unique that will change the future of supply chain logistics as we turn the supply chain into a competitive advantage.

PW: What have you learned thus far?

Mottaz: That it works! —Rick Lingle

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